NEW YORK (NBC) — At least 23 people were hurt, nine of them children, as a seven-alarm fire swept through a multistory building near the Bronx Zoo early Tuesday, drawing more than three dozen fire units and 200 firefighters to help battle the flames.
The 5:30 a.m. fire broke out in a tin-roof furniture store, where the gates were down, on Commonwealth Avenue in Van Nest and rapidly spread up to apartments in the mixed-use building. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters arrived in less than 4 minutes and helped rescue tenants.
Among those injured, the FDNY said, were 22 civilians and one firefighter. The extent of there injuries was not immediately clear, but all are expected to survive.
Chopper 4 was over the scene and showed thick smoke pouring out of windows of the four-story building while firefighters worked to get the blaze under control. About two dozen fire trucks were at the scene as a half-dozen ladder trucks worked on the flames. An aerial view showed smoke billowing for blocks, and after more than three hours, crews were still working to put out the fire.
One resident said he fled the building with no shirts and no shoes — only his three young children. They got out safely. But fire officials say nearly two dozen people, including that man and his family, have been displaced by the blaze.
A cause of Tuesday’s blaze is under investigation. It’s the fourth three-alarm or larger fire in the borough in less than a week.